In this article I want to show you three things about search engine optimization and convince you that it is the best advertising money you could possibly spend for your small business .
- I will demonstrate the importance of being one of the first three business listings on Google. SEO is the most effective way to get new customers. PERIOD!
- I will show you how you can do search engine optimization yourself. I give you step by step instructions below.
- I will convince you that for all of the time and work involved, our SEO packages are a great deal and can save you huge amounts of money on other forms of pair advertising.
That’s it. The three points that will change the way you think about small business advertising. After 18 years of starting new companies, if I had to start over and only had $500 to spend on advertising, all of it would go to search engine optimization! Keep reading and I’ll show you why.
In times past, if someone wanted to find your local company, they would look in the yellow pages. They might hear your ad on the radio or see it in a magazine or newspaper. If you could afford it, you might run a television commercial. These days everyone gets news online, downloads songs, fast forwards commercials, and researches local businesses online. If you want your store to want to be found by shoppers, you need to be where customers are looking! That place, my friend, is on the first page of the Google search engine!
No matter what type of small business website you have, it is estimated that 80-85% of all searches result in a click on the first page of Google. Of those, approximately 90% will click on one of the first three search results. To keep the math easy, let’s imagine that you are a plumber in a mid-sized town where one hundred people search online for a plumber each month. Of those one hundred potential customers, approximately 75 of them will contact one of the top three businesses listed. If divided evenly, that is 25 potential new customers for each agency. If you make $200 from each customer, that is and extra $5,000 per month or $60,000 per year just from being in the Google 3-pack! As you can see, your smaill investment in affordable search engine optimization will multiply in return!
On the other hand, if you run an ad in other media such as a magazine, newspaper, radio, or tv, you have one chance to get the customer. You are paying for the large untargeted audience whether or not they will ever be interested in your products or services. When you invest in affordable SEO, you will benefit for as long as you have your website. Your ad hangs around out there on the web where customers are looking for your merchandise. You can’t beat that deal!
I just did a brief search online to compare advertising rates. Here is what $1,000 will get you:
- A one-time half page ad in a newspaper with about 77,000 readers.
- Four 60 second radio commercial slots in a small market.
- One month on a billboard in a non-prime location
- A one-time 1/4 page ad in a small magazine.
- One time 25,000 flyer inserts into a newspaper.
- One time Postcards direct mailed to 50,000 homes.
- You could have your website optimized to appear on the first page of Google for a targeted audience!
When you compare these options, it doesn’t take a math wizard to see that your first dollars should go to SEO.
After you have had your website optimized, you can decide if you even need to advertise anywhere else!
Now I will show you how to do your own SEO just in case you are on such a tight budget that you can not hire us yet.
OFF PAGE OPTIMIZATION is sort of like political campaigning. It is stuff you do off your website to convince Google that your site is a good guy. It is like building support and gaining votes. But you have to make sure you are only getting the good guys to vote for you. Like politics, if you have a bunch of bad guys out there saying good things about you, it is bad for your image. Therefore you should not pay some guy to go and get you 10,000 backlinks to your website. Instead, you want to make sure you have good, solid supporters and this will help get you elected on Google’s first page.
Here are some things you will help your SEO.
- Get listed on Google Local.
- Submit to local directories such as Yelp, Manta and Merchant Circle.
- Get your articles shared on social sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
- Get your site mentioned on other credible sites such as in new sites or blogs.
- Directory Submissions on websites targeted to your market such as DesignFirms for web designers.
- Social Bookmarking on sites like Digg, Reddit, and Stumbleupon.
- Article Creation and Submission
- Blog Posts in blogs related to your industry.
- E-book Creation and Submission
Here are some things that used to help but now will hurt your SEO.
- Link farms that will include anybody. These are like political endorsements from the bad guys.
- Classified Ad Creation and Submission
- Press Release Creation and Submission
Why is this Off-Page SEO important?
As I said before, search engines want to return the best content to their users. They do this by taking into consideration the popularity of your website. If thousands of people are sharing your article or linking to it, the Google assumes it is good quality content. So they will move it higher in the search engine. In return, to you reward Google’s effort for giving you good articles by returning to use Google again. It is like a giant cycle.
What are the benefits of ‘off-site SEO’ to website owners?
A successful off-site SEO campaign will not only increase your traffic to your site because all of the people who read it will come to visit your site, it will also cause you to climb in the search engines. Thereby sending you even more visitors. The whole effect will snowball.
The Pros and Cons of Link Building
Link building was once the most popular off-Page SEO method. Because Google counted a backlink as a vote for your page, website owners would just submit their website to tens of thousands of directories, forums, and link farms as a way to increase their ranking. This form of SEO worked for a while because it tricked Google into thinking your business was popular.
The most popular ways of building backlinks was blog directories, forum signatures, comment links, article directories, link exchange schemes, and shared content directories. It did not take long for Google to wise up to these tactics and begin to punish websites for using these methods. You should avoid any of these methods when trying to do off-page optimization. At best, it is just a waste of time and will not even be counted. At worst, you could even be penalized by the search engines for using them. It is the search engine equivalent of having political ads endorsing you ran by drug dealers and gang members.
Is all link building bad?
All link building is not bad. It is still very beneficial to gain good links. You should realize that it is better to gain the vote of a great community figurehead than the support of 1,000 criminals. The number of links to your site is not as important as the quality of the site linking to you. For example, a link from some random blog with no traffic but 10k outbound links does not carry the same weight as a link from the front page of The Drudge Report.
So how do you get these links? The best way is to write very good content. It is not an easy task. If you will write good quality content and provide a good user experience on your page, others will link to it naturally. For example, if you are a personal trainer and you write a very good article about a certain health regime, you could tell your friends about it on Facebook or Twitter. If they find it useful they will tell their friends. Soon it will gain momentum. Soon others who share your interest will write articles on their page and post a link to your site for more information. Now you have a good high quality link! But the whole thing starts with providing good quality content
Social Media and Bookmarking
Most links posted on social sites have a tag called “nofollow” that prevents you from abusing the site to artificially inflate your popularity. However that does not mean they can not be beneficial in off site search engine optimization. Sharing links to your articles can increase traffic and draw attention to your site. Social bookmarking sites soared in popularity a few years ago because webmasters were using them to increase their pagerank. Once Google caught on and figure out a solution to this the popularity of bookmarking sites declined. However that does not mean they have no benefit at all. it is still a good idea to create a profile on sites such as reddit.com, digg.com, stumbleupon.com, scoop.it and delicious.com to promote your content. If nothing else, you can use these sites to network and learn from others.
Because off page SEO is commonly abused, Google has really cracked down on it. It is very easy to get your site penalized by hanging out with the wrong crowd. However, if you want you site to rank high in the search engines you will need to have your site optimized on site and off site. it is not going to be easy. It is very time consuming but nothing good comes easy, right?
Off-page SEO is as important as on-site SEO. If you want your SEO campaigns to be successful you have to do both. When thinking about link building don’t take the easy way, but try to get links from hard-to-get places. The more difficult is to get a link, the more value it has.
In the past you could easily get thousands of links and rank higher but nowadays you have to do more than that. My advice is to forget about link building all together and put all your efforts in making a great website, promote it correctly and everything else will follow.
ON PAGE OPTIMIZATION is basically the things you do to your company website to provide a good user experience
Here are some things you can do to improve your on page SEO.
- Write good quality content
- Fix your code errors
- Make sure you don’t have any broken links.
- Create good title and description meta tags
- Add a sitemap
- Use good keywords but don’t overuse them
- Make good use of keyword synonyms.
- Utilize the Google Search Console and Google Analytics
The SEO Importance of Quality Content and Visitor Actions
When you write content for your website, optimize it for your readers and not for the search engines. If a visitor comes to your page and then leaves soon after, Google assumes that they did not like your page. That is like getting a thumbs down vote in search engine land. Google assumes that if that visitor didn’t like your website that others won’teither. So Google will move you down in search engines ranking. Google takes into consideration your bounce rate. However, if the visitor comes to your page and likes what they read enought to stick around, that is like getting a thumbs up for your SEO effort. Google assumes that since that visitor likes your site, they should show your web page to more people. Therefore you climb in the search engines. Writing good content is a very affordable way to optimize your website for the search engines.
Choose Keywords Based on Phrases Visitors Are Searching For, but Don’t Overuse Them.
In the early days of search engine optimization, you could just pick a specific keyword phrase and repeat it a hundred times on your page and get ranked for that phrase. These days that is considered spamming and will hurt your SEO efforts. Of course you should keep a keyword phrase in mind and build your content around it. However you should not just repeat it every chance you get.
Instead of spamming a certain keyword, you could use synonyms. For example, if you were writing about being an SEO consultant, your title, URL, and every image would contain the phrase “SEO CONSULTANT”. Today, Google acknowledges the importance of synonyms and realizes their use sounds more natural. Therefore in your article you would want to mix it up and use phrases such as SEO expert, search engine professional, SEO pro, search engine authority, optimization wizard, and so on. The use of synonyms will help you avoid spamming penalties.
Write Good, Unique Title Tags For Every Page
The second most important thing you can do to enhance your website is to make sure that every page has a unique, attention grabbing title tag that is relevant to the content of the page. This usually takes a little effort, but if your page is not worth your time to optimize it correctly, why should your visitor waste their time to read it? Keep your keywords close to the beginning of the title, Think of your title as bait. When your page shows up in the search engines, your title should be interesting enough to convince visitors to click it. Doing this will cause Google to take notice that people are choosing your site over your competitors. Again, Google will improve your search engine rank.
Include Keywords in Your URL After The /
Exact match domains are not as important as they used to be. AtlantaSEOCompanies.com will not necessarily assure you a first place ranking for those searching for Atlanta SEO Companies. However you can still include your keywords in your URL after the /. Look at the URL of this page as a good example.
You do not want a series of numbers, letters, and symbols in the page URL. if you are using a Content Management System, be sure you install a plugin that will let you customize your URL’s.
Along with smart internal linking, SEOs should make sure that the category hierarchy of the given website is reflected in URLs.
Link To Other Pages Within Your Content
It is vital that your pages be linked together within the content like a spider web. Again, everything in moderation. If you have a page about building websites and you mention the importance of having a professional logo design make sure you link to it. See how I just did it right there? That is like casting your own vote! Because linking to your own pages within the content creates a maze for the search engine spiders to navigate through your page, it also helps the search engines find all of your pages and index them thoroughly.
Link to Other Authority Pages.
You are known by the company you keep. This is true for your page links as well. A link page this relevent to the subject you are writing about shows Google that you have done your research. It is almost as if these sites are voting back for you because it is assumed that you are linking to the article to validate your claims. That lends credibility to your article. Now if you are writing an article about Teacup Pomeranians, you would not want to link to a Wikipedia article about proper care of your goldfish. Sure Wikipedia has authority, but the information is not relevant. Find other pages that support your article and cast your vote for them. In return Google assumes you are at least trying to keep good company.
Optimize Your Image Alt Tags
Your image alt tags may not carry the weight of your title tag, URL, description, and links, but if you want to get on the first page of Google you have to take advantage of every possible opportunity. Do not stuff keywords into you image alt tags. Again, this used to work but Google now punished this. Use your alt tags to describe the image. If it is a picture of a boy with a wagon, say so. Don’t put “Atlanta’s Best Web Design Company” as the alt tag. Making proper use of your alt tags shows the search engines that you are producing quality content and that you care about even the smallest details.
Validate Your Code.
The W3C Code validator will let you know if you have mistakes in the code of your site. Make sure your code is valid and written correctly. Again, this attention to detail shows the search engines that you care about having a quality, optimized website for your small business.
Include a Google Location Map On Your Site.
As a small business owner, I am sure you try to patronize your customers who also own a business. Google does the same. If you use Google’s tools, Google will return the favor. I always make sure I have a Google location map on my sites.
Link to Other Stores Near You.
Google loves local search. When you link to other businesses in your area, you are geolocating your page and showing the search engines that you are a part of that community. I have seen this boost rankings on several sits i have built.
If you do these things, you are well on your way to a first page good ranking.